Monday, August 06, 2018

Funk drill tweak

This is a minor tweak to my standard funk drill using Ted Reed's Syncopation. It was played by mistake by one of my students (6th grader), but it sounded good so I decided to keep it and write it up.

Hit the link above if you need to review the basic method for this drill, using pp. 34-45 from Syncopation. Briefly, we're playing the top line, stems-up rhythms on the bass drum and snare drum and adding a cymbal rhythm. Play everything on the bass drum, except for the downbeat of beat 3, which you play on the snare. If there's a rest 3, or a held note, add a snare hit on 3. Add the cymbal rhythm of your choice; in the original post I used 8th notes; here I've written quarter notes. Just look at the examples below and figure it out, or email me for a skype lesson.

Today we'll make a two measure phrase out of it, playing the snare on 3 in the first measure, and on 4 in the second measure; again, if there's a rest or held note on 4, play the snare on 4 anyway. So line 1 from p. 34 would be played like this:

Line 2:

Line 3:

And the first two lines of the famous long exercise now on page 38 (p. 37 in old editions):

Would be played like this:

It seems like a small thing, but this gives the second measure a very different feel, more like a fill with the bass drum, with the snare drum suggesting double time at the end— Ndugu Leon Chancler does a similar thing at the end of many of his tom fills. Or just think of it as an easy way of getting into a more open, less backbeat focused kind of funk playing. If you're just getting your stuff together, I think you should be doing this drill every day until you can do it with the long exercises after page 38, with a variety of basic cymbal rhythms. Add this tweak into your routine somewhere. 

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